The word "internship" is oftentimes associated with college undergraduates looking to get a foot in the door of the career they are pursuing. But internships are becoming more and more popular amongst high school students looking to explore different career options or trying to network and gain experience in a field they plan to pursue. Applying to internships as a high school student with little-to-no job experience can be difficult. Here are a few things you can do to land a pre-collegiate internship:
- Have a fine-tuned resume
Not only will getting an internship give you employment experience, applying to an internship will give you a taste of what it'll be like to apply to job post-college. A clean, clear, and professional resume with no spelling errors is a basic requirement for the application process. Organize your resume with relevant experience at the top where is will catch your future employer's eye.
- Play up your experience
While you should never lie about your experience, as a high school student you may not have too much practical experience related to the internship you are applying to. Therefore, it is important that you highlight applicable skills you've gained from and used in past experiences. For example, if you're applying to a marketing experience with no specific marketing experience, describe the innovative way you thought of to advertise your cheerleading team's fundraiser.
- Tighten up your social media presence
These days it's pretty impossible not to leave a footprint online and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But understand that your future employers (and even colleges) can view your presence online and are very likely to look into it. Make sure your privacy settings are in check and never post anything online that you wouldn't feel comfortable with your future employers seeing.
- Be willing to work for free
Unfortunately, even some of the most competitive internships offer little to no compensation. Therefore, it is likely that the first internship you land will be unpaid. While this might be an obstacle later in your life, it is more likely that as a high school student you have the luxury of accepting a job that will require you to work for free. You'll be compensated with important contacts and valuable experience that will help you succeed even further in the future.
- Be honest
The main focus of internships is for interns to learn, a lot. So don't worry about being perfect, at the interview or on the job. Be honest about what you know and don't know how to do, and emphasize that you are a hard worker and willing to learn.